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Recent changesEdit

Few of comments/suggestions on recent change:

  • Should someone comment on the page that they used to be called blue-green bacteria, but it changed... and why it changed?

-- Chris Brack :P 01:59, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

  • Great! It's nice to see this article mature.
  • What does "gliding" mean in "They lack flagella but may move about by gliding." How do they glide, and is this under their own power? (I admit: I almost asked if this was "intentional", but then I remembered they're bacteria :-)
They glide actively by convulsions, supporting themselves against some substrate. Andres 09:28, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)
The cyanobacterium Synechocystis sp. 6803 has pili for motility. This form of motility has been shown to be regulated by the cAMP receptor protein. Hedger 11:30, 14 2007
The mechanism for motility for many cyanobacterial species has not yet been fully clarified. For example, see Read et al (2007), J. Bacteriol., 189 7361-7366. User:Grumpy Fisherman16.00 12 Feb 2010 —Preceding undated comment added 16:01, 12 February 2010 (UTC).
  • "...the nitrogen-fixing protein complex may be packaged into specialized cells called heterocysts." Aren't bacteria single-celled? Does specialized "cells" mean something like organelles? This all seems to contradict my limited knowledge of biology.
Several cells may live together, forming filaments (or colonies). Andres 09:28, 11 Aug 2004 (UTC)
  • If someone knows more (or even a bit) about the lichen story, I'd encourage you to add the info to the endosymbiont article, which currently is heavily slanted to endosymbionts in insects (I wrote it; it's all I know about endosymbionts)
  • "This organization closely resembles that of chloroplasts, which are believed to be derived from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria. In particular the pigments of most cyanobacteria are very similar to those of red algae." I don't see how the second sentence follows from the first -- how does the pigment of cyanobacteria relate to chloroplasts?

Zashaw 22:03 Mar 31, 2003 (UTC)


"...cyanobacteria have been found from around 3800 million years ago, making cyanobacteria some..." - is this 3800 million years number correct? Can't we just put 3.8 billion years?

Fcrick 19:03, 18 Nov 2003 (UTC)

We're trying to avoid the controversy over the word "billion". Some people insist that 3.8 billion is 3,800,000 million. See Talk:Billion#How_well_known_is_it.3F.3F -- 03:07, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

Re: Evidence of cyanobacterial microfossil controversyEdit

Questioning the oldest signs of life Simpson S SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 288 (4): 70-77 APR 2003

Questioning the evidence for Earth's oldest fossils Brasier MD, Green OR, Jephcoat AP, et al. NATURE 416 (6876): 76-81 MAR 7 2002

Necessary, but not sufficient: Raman identification of disordered carbon as a signature of ancient life Pasteris JD, Wopenka B ASTROBIOLOGY 3 (4): 727-738 WIN 2003

Earth's oldest (similar to 3.5 Ga) fossils and the 'Early Eden hypothesis': Questioning the evidence Brasier M, Green O, Lindsay J, Steele A ORIGINS OF LIFE AND EVOLUTION OF THE BIOSPHERE 34 (1-2): 257-269 FEB 2004

Archean microfossils: a reappraisal of early life on Earth Altermann W, Kazmierczak J RESEARCH IN MICROBIOLOGY 154 (9): 611-617 NOV 2003

Self-assembled silica-carbonate structures and detection of ancient microfossils Garcia-Ruiz JM, Hyde ST, Carnerup AM, Christy AG, Van Kranendonk MJ, Welham NJ SCIENCE 302 (5648): 1194-1197 NOV 14 2003

Recognizing and interpreting the fossils of early eukaryotes Javaux EJ, Knoll AH, Walter M ORIGINS OF LIFE AND EVOLUTION OF THE BIOSPHERE 33 (1): 75-94 FEB 2003

Morphology: An ambiguous indicator of biogenicity Ruiz JMG, Canerup A, Christy AG, Welham NJ, Hyde ST ASTROBIOLOGY 2 (3): 353-369 FAL 2002

Laser-Raman spectroscopy (Communication arising): Images of the Earth's earliest fossils? Pasteris JD, Wopenka B NATURE 420 (6915): 476-477 DEC 5 2002

Laser-Raman spectroscopy (Communication arising): Images of the Earth's earliest fossils? Reply Schopf JW, Kudryavtsev AB, Agresti DG, Wdowiak TJ, Czaja AD NATURE 420 (6915): 477-477 DEC 5 2002

Atomic force microscopy of Precambrian microscopic fossils Kempe A, Schopf JW, Altermann W, Kudryavtsev AB, Heckl WM PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 99 (14): 9117-9120 JUL 9 2002

Microfossils: Squaring up over ancient life Dalton R NATURE 417 (6891): 782-784 JUN 20 2002

23 May 2004

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)
  • sorry, but there's no way to confirm 5 year old journal entries, I know for a fact my campus database doesn't even retain journals that old, if you're still here, you'll have to provide URLs for these, I should be able to access these, otherwise the claim is essentially unsourced-- 23:52, 25 May 2006 (UTC)
  • the first article seems to exist, but from the abstract it seems that made claims not supported by the article, I can't be sure because most of these articles are too old and are no longer available on their respective online journal databases-- 00:06, 26 May 2006 (UTC)


At the moment, the classification of cyanobacteria is confused. The standard morphology based orders could be used if we really wanted, but they're obsolete and so I don't think they add anything to the article. It looks like at the moment, cyanobacteria are divided into five sections, simply referred to as I-V. I think we should hold off on adding subdivisions until a better system emerges. Josh 18:05, 31 Aug 2004 (UTC)

ok - maybe it could be useful to add some note in the taxobox to prevent future additions. Also the subdivision box is useful to navigate towards more specific articles... Azhyd 18:12, Aug 31, 2004 (UTC)

Some further checking shows that aside from the prochlorophytes, the orders you added are the same as the sections, but with standard Linnaean names given. However, it looks like the sections aren't supported by phylogeny either, with the two exceptions of Nostocales and Stigonematales. Anyways, since I managed to confuse even myself with this, I'll add some discussion of this to the article. Josh

OK no orders then. The most recent treatment of the Cyanobacteria I can find is here[dead link]
Here further from the "International Committee on Systematics of Prokaryotes", International Code of Nomenclature of Bacteria (Bacteriological Code) in International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology:
International Code of Nomenclature of Prokaryotes
"Cyanobacteria continue to be covered by both the Botanical Code and Prokaryotic Code. An effort to reconcile the status of this group of bacteria has been underway for several decades. Although some progress has been made, a final decision has not yet been reached between the ICN and ICSP. Oren, A. 2004. A proposal for further integration of the cyanobacteria under the Bacteriological Code. Int. J. Syst. Evol. Microbiol. 54:1895–1902. doi:10.1099/ijs.0.03008-0. PMID 15388760"
—DIV ( (talk) 01:44, 14 December 2017 (UTC))


I think this should be changed to Cyanoprokaryote(s).

Much modern up-to-date classification recognizes that Cyanoprokaryotes show significant differences from either Bacteria or Archae and should rightly belong in their own classification within prokaryotes.--ZayZayEM 12:13, 23 Oct 2004 (UTC)

Cyanobacteria is still the much more common term. If there turn out to be many different groups of prokaryotes, I imagine we will go back to using bacteria and prokaryotes as synonyms rather than further restricting the group. At least this is done by Cavalier-Smith, who has argued for a while that the eubacteria comprise several different groups. It would be very interesting to see a reference on this, though, because it would presumably have more information for us about the relationships between the different groups. Josh

Photosynthetic bacteria - proposalEdit

Perhaps someone who knows the topic should write the article photosynthetic bacteria. Also, can someone check what is the relationship between Cyanobacteria and T.aquaticus and describe it more specifically in the article Geyser? Thanks. --Eleassar777 14:36, 23 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Anything with a chloroplast is photosynthetic. Maybe that will do for now. 06:05, 7 April 2007 (UTC)

Satellite imageEdit

I added the NASA image, showing a bloom in the Baltic, but I cannot determine if it consists mainly of other phytoplankton than cyanobacteria (the latter are very common, and very annoying, every summer). Experts, please offer opinions, thanks. --Janke | Talk 20:45, 7 August 2005 (UTC)

No chlorophyll b in CyanobacteriaEdit

I believe there is no chlorophyll b in Cyanobacteria. They do have chlorophyll a,d; carotenoids and phycobiliproteins. See for example. Daniel G.

That page excludes the prochlorophytes, which do have chlorophyll b, from the cyanobacteria. This is no longer standard.

Does this sentence make any sense?Edit

"As soon they evolved, they became the dominant metabolism for producing fixed carbon in the form of sugars from carbon dioxide."

It's in the first paragraph. I can't make sense of it. JohnJohn 02:21, 28 February 2006 (UTC)

I think the word "metabolism" should perhaps read "mechanism"? I'll leave it to a proper user to decide though, as I'm not certain. -- 19:58, 9 July 2006 (UTC)Fred

cyanobacteria "controversy"Edit

seems to have been invented by an anon ip, 2 years ago, seems to have been reverted, and then when no one was looking re-added then forgotten, it seems to have been there ever since-- 23:49, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

My girlfriend is doing a PhD on this and I'll get a reference from her. There are claims of biomarkers for oxyphotosynthesis from ~3.5 billion years, biomarkers for eukarykotes (and thus oxygen) from ~2.5 billion years, and then younger fossil evidence for cyanobacteria-like organisms. None of this should be identified with the cyanobacteria, which are a modern taxon, though they are presumably related. -- Danny Yee 01:11, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Possible energy sourceEdit

I was wondering if anyone knows how to force cyanobacteria to produce Hydrogen. I was told all you have to do is sulfur starve them and the cyanobacteria stops producing oxygen and begins to produce hydrogen. If anyone has any ideas as to how this could be done please let me know. Z Swankie

Many cyanobacteria have hydrogenase activity (produce or use H2). In species that have the capacity to fix free nitrogen (and liberate H2 as a by-product of nitogen fixation), an enzyme named "uptake hydrogenase" is present that uses H2 for producing reduing equivalents. In many other species another enzyme, bidirectional hydrogenase, is present. Its function is still not well understood. Presumably in stress conditions (such as sulfur starvation) it may act as a valve for low-potential electrons and maintain photosynthetic electron trasport. Little is known about this.


I think the sulfur starve method of hydrogen production was discovered with Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, a green algae rather than a cyano, that said it would still work with them. However it is a somewhat ineffective method as it causes the organism to degrade protein, a very metabolically expensive method. Most hydrogenase enzymes are also oxygen sensitive and so producing hydrogen does not happen at the same time as oxygenic photosynthesis. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Moojo315 (talkcontribs) 10:40, 28 August 2010 (UTC)


the Spirulina page seems to have taken on a life of its own, would anyone be interested in helping me get a little factual accuracy in there?--Niro5 19:19, 11 August 2006 (UTC)


I am not sure the term colony applies to filamentous cyanobacteria. In a colony, a term quite loosely defined, the cells are stuck together due to the extracellular polysacharides, whereas in filamentous cyanobacteria the cells are uniseriatly arranged and comunicate through their periplasm, i.e. have a common outer membrane. Basa 16:31, 19 January 2007 (UTC)

Nutritional InformationEdit

I see a few websites selling Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (aka Klamath Lake Algae) as a nutritional supplement similar to Spirulina. Does anyone have any nutritional information they can post in the article? 09:37, 8 February 2007 (UTC)KnowledgeSeeker

Added CyanophytaEdit

Wondered why it was excluded. Fad (ix) 21:48, 14 February 2007 (UTC)

Also, I don't know if the wording is really correct to say right on, in the lead that it is a Phyllum of bacteria, when there is still a controversy on there. Fad (ix) 21:51, 14 February 2007 (UTC)


do cyanobacteria have chlorophyll c and/or d? if not where do they come from in plastides of brown and red algae respectively? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:59, 11 April 2007 (UTC).

Prochlorophyte redirectEdit

Prochlorophyte redirects here, yet there is little mention of them in the article. I believe the difference is the type of chlorophyll each possesses, but am not certain enough to add it. Could someone please clarify it in the article. Cheers, Jack 22:16, 20 May 2007 (UTC)

Prochlorophyte is a deprecated term. It refers to cyanobacteria containing Chhlorophyll b and previously thought to be different from cyanos. Many work have established that prochlorophytes belong to cyanobacteria and that the different "prochlorophyte" are not related to each other phylogenetically and therefore should not be grouped together. Until there is a specific article on prochlorophyte explaining the history of the term and then that it should be no longer used, the redirection is probably the safer --Daniel Vaulot 20:38, 21 May 2007 (UTC)


"...the bacteria do not use or produce cyanide whose chemical prefix is cyano-." Is this addendum really necessary? I doubt that this is a common assumption and it seems a little ridiculous in the intro. Black Platypus (talk) 09:16, 27 November 2007 (UTC)

It does seem a little ridiculous, and the rest of the paragraph isn't much better. I'm considering changing the intro to this:
Cyanobacteria, also known as Cyanophyta or blue-green algae, is a phylum of bacteria that obtain their energy through photosynthesis. The name "cyanobacteria" comes from the color of the bacteria (Greek: κυανός (kyanós) = blue). They are a significant component of the marine nitrogen cycle and an important primary producer in many areas of the ocean, but are also found on land.
Stromatolites, putative fossilized cyanobacteria, have been found from 3.8 billion years ago. The ability of cyanobacteria to perform oxygenic photosynthesis is thought to have converted the early reducing atmosphere into an oxidizing one (the Oxygen Catastrophe), which dramatically changed the life forms on Earth and provoked an explosion of biodiversity. They are also considerad the ancestors of chloroplasts in plants and algae.
Narayanese 16:47, 30 November 2007 (UTC)

Sadly, I believe there may be a need to directly address the cyanide issue, ridiculous as it may seem. I just picked up "The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York" by Deborah Blum, and in it the author claims cyanobacteria are a good example of cyanide being used in nature (which of course they aren't). Considering the author is a Pulitzer-prize winning professor of science journalism and this is a book as recent as 2010, she's probably not the only one to get that wrong in a published work, and less skeptical readers may be tempted to take such claims at face value. I feel like a single sentence explaining the common Greek root and dispelling the misconception of cyanide in the bacteria would be helpful. Shanesmith4 (talk) 13:28, 24 July 2017 (UTC)


"... lack phycobilisomes and have chlorophyll b instead (Prochloron, Prochlorococcus, Prochlorothrix)..."

Am I correct to lead that only those have chlorophyll beta? As in they are red and the others, as chlorophyll alpha would be blue and green? (talk) 02:10, 28 November 2007 (UTC)

Cyanobacteria are big on either end of the motile chain may be tapered. ??Edit

The meaning here is very unclear. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:17, 11 February 2008 (UTC)

That was a hoax edit, I'm sorry I didn't catch it earlier. Only those parts that stick out and are used for movement are tapered as far as can tell. Narayanese (talk) 08:38, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

Cyanobacterial evolution from comparative genomicsEdit

This section reads like it's been copied verbatim from a scientific article or book. Oh, wait, it was. It makes little sense to write 'here we present...' when in fact here we do not present. Does anybody have any good leads for rewriting this section about the evolutionary history of cyanobacteriae - preferably to include the origin of photosynthesis? (Let me just dump some links here for future study: [1], [2]) Gralgrathor (talk) 08:34, 23 June 2008 (UTC)

describe the cyanobacteria present-day environmentEdit

describe the cyanobacteria present-day environment? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:00, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

The present-day environment of cyanobacteria is Earth. They are a high-level group, so asking for information more specific than that would be like asking for the environment of "animals". --EncycloPetey (talk) 17:01, 3 September 2008 (UTC)

the blue green algaes helps in nitrogen fixation are nostoc and anabena while blue green bacterias helps in nitrogen fixation are rhizobium, azatobacter and clostridium.

Nope. Many of those are not blue green. Narayanese (talk) 16:58, 27 April 2010 (UTC)

Identification and HABsEdit

Would someone please add some non-microscopic photographs that would help people identify the primary groups of algae? Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are a serious health hazard but these only, as far as I understand, refer to blue-green algae (Cyanobacteria ) not for instance to green algae. Helping people distinguish between the principal forms would be a helpful service for the article to provide in my opinion. LookingGlass (talk) 10:26, 21 July 2012 (UTC)

(Replied at Talk:Green algae, where this comment was also posted. --EncycloPetey (talk) 18:18, 21 July 2012 (UTC))

Definitely not an "Animal"Edit

I have encountered a number of individuals who have taken the fact that BGA is bacteria to mean that it is an "Animal" - perhaps some clarification of the reclassification should be made that just because it is no longer in the "Plant" regnum doesn't mean it has become an "Animal."

As far as I am aware, nothing classified as an "animal" respirates Carbon Dioxide for energy and emits Oxygen. Redwood Elf (talk) 23:17, 5 June 2014 (UTC)

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History of BGA name falling out of useEdit

I'd be very interested in a brief overview of the origins of the term "cyanobacteria" to substitute "blue-green algae" and how long it took to displace the misnomer (if it has indeed been displaced fully yet). Certainly when I was in high school biology in the aughties the textbook carried both terms, though I can't remember if it was the textbook's preference or the teacher's to use BGA by default. In grad lab this decade we usually said BGA, but that may be because the PIs were old and we were physicists. Anyway, I found a lot of cognitive dissonance in having to remind myself that BGA are prokaryotes every time we brought up their biology, so I'm just surprised "cyanobacteria" didn't take root as soon as it was introduced. Anyone with more insight in biology's academia want to help out with this? SamuelRiv (talk) 17:04, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

SamuelRiv, "origins of the term "cyanobacteria" to substitute "blue-green algae"? it's addressed in the article.
"how long it took to displace the misnomer?" it's not out of use at all. institutions like state DNR's perpetuate it, if you search just a bit.--Wuerzele (talk) 16:25, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, I don't see where in the article it mentions when the term "cyanobacteria" was first used (or, for that matter, other terms like "cyanophyta" as mentioned in the sidebar) -- could you point it out? As for displacement, while BGA certainly is still used in plenty of publications (especially outside academia), whenever guidelines or policies are put in place they invariably prefer or mandate "cyanobacteria." SamuelRiv (talk) 03:37, 14 June 2016 (UTC)

inadequate ledeEdit

i flagged the lede today, because it seems stuck on details of physiology, but there's so much more. I'm no expert on this, just drove by today and want to encourage a rewrite for this 'level 4 vital article'.--Wuerzele (talk) 16:28, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

DNA samples of Cyanobacteria?Edit

Would Wikipedia ever collect DNA samples of simple organisms like the Cyanobacteria? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Nfarrow (talkcontribs) 07:47, 19 April 2017 (UTC)

Cyanobacterial starchEdit

In the article, there is no information on the substance which Cyanobacteria produce as their energy store. Some literature talks about cyanobacterial starch. What is it? What is the difference between cyanobacterial starch, floridean starch, common starch and glycogen? (talk) 15:19, 21 September 2017 (UTC)

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